The Candidate- Why Narendra Modi defends the undefendable


MODI1

Aakar Patel, Asian Age

Should ministers who murder their citizens not be pun ished? There is no answer from Gujarat’s chief minister Narendra Modi to this question.

 

A court has convicted his minister for women and child welfare Maya Kodnani to 28 years for rioting. She is currently in jail serving this sentence.

She supervised the murder of 98 Gujaratis in Ahmedabad, including three dozen children and women. The victims of the violence have specifically said after her conviction that they do not want her to be hanged, and that the 28 year sentence is enough.

 

However, the special investigating team that gathered evidence against the minister recommended to the state government that it should seek Kodnani’s hanging.

 

Last month, for some reason of its own, the state government first accepted that Kodnani would be hanged. And on May 14, Mr Modi decided this was a mistake and took back the state government’s recommendation of the death penalty. It was reported that the government is relooking at the matter, but what is clear is that a decision earlier taken is now again being thought over.

 

So what does Mr Modi want?

The fact is that Mr Modi has not even accepted Kodnani’s guilt, leave alone wanting the quantum of her punishment to be increased. When asked by reporters to comment, he says he cannot because the matter is subjudice (because Kodnani has appealed her conviction) though the truth is that he is wrong, since the case has already been adjudicated.

 

In fact, quite shamefully, he has made no statement on her at all. This is despite the fact that he gave her a ticket and then made her a minister while very serious allegations confronted her.

 

One problem he has is that in the 18 years that the BJP has ruled Gujarat, the state has become aggressively Hindutva-minded.

Large parts of the population and the entire group of the Sangh Parivar rejects the idea that any Hindus should be punished merely for retaliating against what they see as Muslim provocation.

 

There is enormous pressure on the government in this matter from these quarters. They are aghast that a Hindu minister should be held accountable.

 

The other aspect is that Mr Modi himself feels this way. He is, after all, a lifetime Sangh man. And believes, in my opinion wrongly, that the rest of the country is going to see it from his perspective.

The media will actually not let go of this Kodnani issue and only negatives can accrue to Mr Modi from this mistake. In an earlier column I noted that Mr Modi has been able to successfully keep separate his mismanagement of the riots from his agenda of development. He has done this well and because of it can deflect the negative attention that his antiMuslim and communal views bring. Such mistakes as he is making in the Kodnani issue bring his nasty side to the fore.

He will pay a price politically every time he fumbles on this.

 

The second person that Mr Modi thinks should not be punished is the thuggish Babu Bajrangi. From the Patel caste that is the BJP’s votebank and which dominates Gujarat’s Cabinet, Bajrangi is a man Mr Modi doesn’t want to alienate.

 

So keen is Mr Modi to appease the Patels that four out of nine ministers in his previous Cabinet and three out of seven in the current one are Patels.

 

Bajrangi became famous for forcibly undoing the marriages of Muslim boys with Hindu girls. He actively participated in the riots and was also convicted along with Kodnani. He represents the worst sort of Hindutva -crude, vulgar and violent -and it is a shame that even such people are being given a free pass by Mr Modi.

 

As I have said, the victims have specifically said they do not want the death penalty. This game is one that Mr Modi is playing against nobody in particular, and it is one that will damage him.

 

Narendra Modi – Caesar can do no wrong


 Narandra Modi's Vibrant Gujarat Story: Propaganda vs Fact #mustread


 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

 

After his triumph in Karnataka where he thundered in four electoral constituencies, losing all four to the Congress whom it seems his fulminations did not persuade the crowds to “hate” enough, Narendra Damodar Modi found more  accolades  awaiting him at home in Gandhinagar,  where he is used to being  Caesar,  for his customary good governance.  Good governance that began in early  2002 with the decisive quelling of the uppity Gujarati Muslims, yielding a decade of funereal  peace and quiet conducive to profit maximization.

A Division Bench of the Gujarat High Court has had the gumption to accuse his government of “shielding, protecting, and siding with police officials” arraigned in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter killing.

At a time when stories of  executive interference in the investigative workings of the  Central Bureau of Investigation are the flavour of the electronic channels, justices Jayant Patel and Abhilasha Kumari observed  how the Special Investigation Team had earlier alleged interference on the part of the State, while the CBI report left no doubt that the State government was shielding the accused cops  (see The Hindu, May 11).  Just to remind ourselves that, apart from being Caesar, Modi is also the Home minister of the state, and has been so from day one.

Poor CBI has recently been driven to issuing  an arrest warrant against Additional Director General of Police, P.P. Pandey—no less—who seems to have gone missing with the benign connivance of the government in Gujarat, a circumstance rather reminiscent of the many months through which the convicted and sentenced Babu Bajrangi was shielded and hidden away  under the aegis of Caesar himself as per Bajrangi’s confessions  on the Tehelka  Sting tapes.  One has of course lost count of the number of similarly high-ranking police officers similarly accused in other fake encounter killings  who are cooling their heels in the slammer—all, no doubt,  testimony to the proverbial good governance of Narendra Modi.  Ask an Adani, or an Ambani, or a Tata, and they would tell you how all these underside happenings are of little account so long as good   governance keeps extending to unimpeded freebies and bonanzaz for them in the supreme  “national interest.”  Indeed the latest to join that chorus is the redoubtable  icon of entrepreneurial success and probity, Shri  Narayanmurthi. It seems the shining roads of Ahmedabad have done it for him.

Then there is the case of the senior IPS officer, Satish Verma, who was a member of the SIT in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter  case,  and the first to call the killing a cold blooded murder.  While the Court had instructed the CBI to continue to avail of the services of Satish Verma inorder to nab the other accused, the State government sought his services elsewhere in  habitual deflection of Court  orders.

In the meanwhile, news comes that the judicial magistrate who had been hearing Zakia Jaffri’s  Protest Petition on a day to day basis has been transferred after a week or so into the hearings. Just to recall that the Protest Petition challenges the conclusions drawn by the Raghavan-led  SIT whom the Supreme Court had appointed to enquire into the Gulberg massacre case.     The challenge, which is based on hitherto concealed evidence comprising call records and case diaries pertaining to the fateful days—Feb.,27 to March 1, 2002—demonstrates, for those who care to see, both the complicity of the Gujarat government at the highest level in the killings, and the failure or unwillingness of the SIT to admit such evidence and draw the inferences it should have drawn, although the amicus curiae in the case, also appointed by the Supreme Court,  was to independently hold that the evidence already recorded by the SIT was sufficient to warrant the filing of charges against Modi. Indeed the Supreme Court itself had been askance at the inexplicable divergence between the SIT’s  recorded evidence and its exoneratory  conclusions with respect to Modi.

It is not clear at the time of writing as to who might have been the authority that has  ordered the transfer of the magistrate in the case, the Hight Court or the Government.  If the former, it is regrettable that the honourable court should not have considered  the delay, perhaps an inordinate one, that will not but be caused in the disposal of the Petition, since a new incumbent cannot but take a great deal of time to master the details of the SIT report, and the more than a thousand pages of text and audio-visual evidence annexed thereof  challenging the exonerative conclusions by the SIT.  If, on the other hand, the transferring authority in the case has been the Gujarat government, what could be a greater giveaway of how, true to pattern,  it intends to thwart consideration  of the Protest Petition, since its admittance would lead directly to the filing of charges against  the accused listed by  the Petitioner, at the head of which list happens to be Narendra Modi.

A further piece of news concerns Shri Gulab Chand Kataria, an erstwhile minister and bigwig in the Rajasthan BJP, who has been now charge -sheeted for complicity in the Sohrabuddin  fake encounter murder.  The  BJP top brass sees this to be a sinister conspiracy on behalf of the Congress party which it accuses of using the CBI in the matter with the ulterior purpose of going after Modi.  Poor CBI, it can do nothing right, except when it aids and abets the BJP in its difficult times.  Sterling example:  the murder of Modi’s  cabinet colleague, the late Haren Pandya was generally recognized for what it was—a supari killing to eliminate the prospect of Pandya  testifying openly  to what had transpired at the meeting Modi held with his sartraps on the late evening of February, 27, 2002.  Recall that he had actually confided to the Citizens’s Enquiry Panel that Modi had issued instructions to his police not to thwart the vendetta on behalf of Hindus that was sure to happen the next day during the VHP  bandh call which was supported by the BJP. The investigation in the matter was passed on to the CBI by the then Home Minister of India, L.K. Advani, and, lo and behold, the CBI quickly concluded the murder to have been the work of “jehadi elements”.  Interestingly, all the accused were  freed as innocent victims by the Court, and the real killers were never investigated or caught.  The BJP and the then NDA government at the centre tom -tommed this finding of the CBI as exemplary proof of the disinformation against Modi.  And yet, the same CBI’s  case against Gulab Chand Kataria is a priori being propagandized by the BJP top brass as a case of proven vendetta.  Just to note: from all available independent sources that have thus far gone into the Sohrabuddin killing, as well as the subsequent murders of his wife, Kausar Bi, and the only witness to the events, Tulsi Ram Prajapati, the CBI may indeed have an open and shut case against both Kataria and Amit Shah, the latter  erstwhile Minister of State for Home affairs under Modi at the time, and already charged.

However you look at it,  there continues to be an exonerative Teflon all over Narendra Modi; no matter what sorts of facts keep emerging about his reign in Gujarat, no screaming, holier-than-everybody  television anchor, not to speak of his own party people who never fail to point fingers every second of every day, and may I add with dismay, some noted mainline Dailies, may persuade  themselves   to think one bad thought about Modi.

The fact may be that, notwithstanding their  routine imprecations on behalf of democracy and the rule of law, most corporates who own these channels, and who fund the print media,  and the elites who cotton to them with gusto are all at bottom looking for the great dictator to arrive in  the blazing purity of saffron, willing to set the country right through  edicts in the  superman style.

When the American Constitutional regime was being considered, one of the central contentions was whether the new world should opt for a government of men or  laws.  As is well known, the chips fell in favour of laws, since the good book taught, and teaches, that all  humankind is depraved because of the “original” transgression of Adam and Eve.

It seems that here in India where in Hindu thought depravity is never a serious matter, and never  unmanageable at any rate, our forward-looking generation now pines for the  rule by one man who may, if he so wishes, be a law unto himself.

Currently, no Indian demogauge fits that requirement more than Modi.  Thus the Teflon and the immunity in elite perception.

___________________________________________________________________

Badri Raina,

 

Naroda Patiya case: Modi government does a U-turn on Kodnani, Bajrangi #deathpenalty


CNN-IBN | Updated May 14, 2013

Ahmedabad: In a U-turn of sorts, the Gujarat state legal department has written to the chief prosecutor in the Naroda Patiya massacre case, seeking approval for enhancement of punishment for BJP leader Maya Kodnani and Bajrang Dal’s Babu Bajrangi to be put on hold. The legal department wants the punishment to be put on hold until further instructions.

Earlier the department had given a sanction to the Special Investigation Team to file an application in the High Court seeking death sentence for Maya Kodnani, Babu Bajrangi and nine others. 97 persons were killed in Naroda Patiya during the 2002 Gujarat riots.

In 2012, a special court had sentenced Maya Kodnani to 28 years in jail for the massacre in Naroda Patiya. Kodnani is the sitting MLA from Naroda Patiya.

 

Kodnani, a three-time MLA from Naroda area, who was considered to be close to Chief Minister Narendra Modi, is the first woman and first MLA to be convicted and sentenced in a post-Godhra riots case.

Kodnani was the minister of women and child development in the Narendra Modi government but was forced to resign after a case was lodged against her in the Naroda Patiya massacre of 2002.

The trial court had convicted 32 people and acquitted 29 others in the Naroda Patiya massacre case which took place during the 2002 Gujarat riots.

The Naroda Patiya massacre is the largest single case of mass murder during the 2002 Gujarat riots that broke out following the Sabarmati Express train carnage near Godhra station. The case has been probed by a Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigating Team (SIT).

As many as 327 witnesses, comprising eye witnesses, victims, doctors, police personnel, government officials, forensic experts and journalists including Ashish Khetan, who conducted a TV sting operation on the accused, were examined by the court.

 

#India – Mother courage against #Narendramodi


Dileep Padgaonkar 
21 April 2013, 02:34 PM IST

Zakia Jafri deserves accolades for her grit and determination to get justice for her slain husband.

On April 24,  a magistrate in Ahmedabad will begin daily hearings on a petition filed by Zakia Jafri, widow of the slain Congress leader Ehsan Jafri, challenging the clean chit that the Special Investigation Team gave Narendra Modi’s for his alleged role in the Godhra and post-Godhra violence in 2002. She contends that the SIT overlooked masses of evidence – including dispatches filed by the intelligence department and detailed records of cell-phone calls made on Februray  28, the day on which her husband and 70 others were killed in the city’s Gulberg Society – to save the Gujarat chief minister’s skin.

The calls indicate that as soon as he was he informed about the burning of the train at Godhra, Modi contacted not his senior officials first but the secretary of the Gujarat unit of the VHP, Jaideep Patel, and asked him to go post-haste to the site of the gruesome incident. There Patel ensured that the bodies were handed over to him and not, as is the prevalent practice, to the next of kin. He then hauled them in trucks and, ignoring police warnings, orchestrated a procession of the bodies through the streets of Ahmedabad. This brazen attempt to provoke communal fury had the desired effect: death and destruction on a scale that shamed India.

The fact that the Supreme Court first allowed Zakia Jafri access to a truck-load of documents compiled by the SIT and also permitted her to file the petition was a clear indication that in the eyes of the apex court Modi is not entirely off the hook. That realization probably explains why he sought the death penalty for two individuals convicted for their actions during the riots: Maya Kodnani, who once served in his cabinet, and Babu Bajrangi, a VHP activist. But far from giving himself a freshly minted secular image, this move has triggered indignation in the ranks of Hindu right-wing groups, including the Shiv Sena. And it has further alienated him from his critics within the BJP, especially from L.K. Advani who had doted on Kodnani.

Nor has he succeeded  in detracting attention from Zakia Zafri’s petition. It should finally settle the matter one way or the other. Regardless of its outcome, however, the remarkable courage that this frail and elderly lady has shown over more than a decade to get to the bottom of the communal carnage must command respect and admiration. Despite repeated legal set-backs, she never wavered in her determination, nor did she once fear the consequences of defying the Gujarat strong-man.

No less significant is her undiminished faith in the judiciary. Time and again she has vowed to abide by its verdict once she exhausts all legal remedies available to her as a citizen of the republic. For a woman who has borne untold suffering, such faith is touching beyond words. And such grace and dignity under intolerable pressure is quite simply miraculous.

But tough times await Modi even if the magistrate hearing Zakia Jafri’s petition endorses the SIT’s conclusions. According to a report published in the Sunday Times of India, two senior police officers made numerous calls to the chief minister’s office during two encounters: one that killed Sohrabuddin Shaikh on 26 November 2005 and another that killed Tulsiram Prajapati on 28 December 2006. Modi’s minister of state at that time, Amit Shah, is an accused in these two cases. He was recently given a plum job in the highest echelons of the BJP.

Public pressure will now mount on the CBI to take cognisance of these calls – something that the investigation agency apparently failed to do even though it was in possession of the details. At some point or the other, the kin of the victims, or human rights organizations, or both, will petition the courts to order  a probe. Moreover, even those sections of the media that are enamoured of the Gujarat chief minister’s record in office – effective and clean governance, speedy economic growth, a no-nonsense attitude to security issues etc – will find it hard to ignore the ghost of Godhra that is certain to haunt him in the weeks and months ahead.

As it happens, these weeks and months are crucial for Modi to reinforce his claim that none other than he can lead the BJP-led NDA to rout the two-term, scam-ridden, indecisive UPA in the next general elections. The one who is best placed to thwart his prime ministerial ambitions is not Rahul Gandhi, nor Nitish Kumar nor even his detractors within his own party’s fold but Zakia Jafri. She has emerged as the Mother Courage of an India that abides by the letter and spirit of its Constitution and by the ethos of its pluralistic culture.

It is a pity that there is no such Mother Courage to expose the criminal shenanigans of the likes of Jagdish Tytler and many others who lost their lives in communal riots under the watch of the Congress and that of other self-appointed votaries of secularism for decades.  But that cannot detract attention from what the courts have in store for the zealous prime ministerial aspirant Narendra Modi: either a squeaky-clean image of constitutional rectitude or an image that is forever tainted with bias, prejudice and worse against our minorities

Narendra Modi Attacks His Henchmen-Chanakya and Machiavelli Rolled into One



By Badri Raina

Friday, April 19, 2013
MODI1
Epigraph                               I have no spur

To prick the sides of my intent, but only

Vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself

And falls on th’other—

(Macbeth, I,vii)
“Intent” you will see is the horse that Macbeth wishes to ride to the glory of the Scottish throne.  And the only spur he has to race that horse is his “ambition. “ Wretchedly, he recognizes this to be a “vaulting” ambition, and as in gymnastics, the momentum of intent in the athelete carries the gymnast past the vault to fall on the other side.  Such Macbeth acknowledges to himself to be the force of his wanting, one inherently slated to “overleap” into disaster.

I have from very early on sought  in the career of Macbeth a prescient type of the modern day fascist imagination, and sought to draw lessons from  Shakespeare’s exploration  for our understanding of our own Narendra Modi phenomenon.

In one word, these are demonstrations of unmitigated self-regard that assumes to itself the right to trample the world to the pulpit of absolutism, sustained by a Dionysian/Nietzschean drive to the high morality of denying the powerless the right to exist at all.  And getting to that goal  without being hostage to any loyalty, if such loyalty thwarts the attainment. Thus, if Dionysus and Nietzsche define the goal—be thou the superman, and let women, the chosen ones, be the begetters of supermen, and eliminate all the rest—Chanakya and Machiavelli, bringing the East and West together, show the ways to the goal.

How else may one explain the stunning news now coming out of Gandhinagar, capital of Gujarat, to wit that he government there (read Modi) means to approach the courts for enhancement of the life sentences of Maya Ben Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi—two of  Modi’s most blindly devoted action hands (recalling the murderers who are shown in such intimacy with Macbeth?)—to death sentences.

You have to do nothing more than resurrect the Tehelka Sting Operation Report (see Tehelka online for august 29, 2012 and September, 08, 2012 for all the self-confessed details by Babu Bajrangi of his intimacy with Modi through the days of the Gujarat carnage—“Narendra Bhai nahi hote  na to hum log bahar hi nahi nikaltee” (had narendra modi not been behind us we could not ventured out to the  killings at all, referring here to the Naroda Patiya massacre of some ninety or more muslims where Bajrangi and Kodnani were found to be the chief butchers).”

Further, in translation, “it was only because of him (Modi)…otherwise who would have dared…it is all his handiwork…for if he gave instructions to police, they would have screwed our happiness.”  Again “but for Modi, neither Patia nor Gulberg  (where one of the victims sent to brutal wrack was a congress party member of parliament, Ehsan Jaffri, incidentally a fine scholar of Sanskrit literature, among other things, and whose devastated widow, Zakia Jaffri has now filed a Protest Petition in the local court contesting the conclusions drawn by the Supreme Court- appointed Special Investigation Team—SIT—headed by an erstwhile head of the country’s premier investigating agency, the CBI  on the basis of new evidence of wireless messages and call details of frantic efforts by policemen on the ground on feb.,27 and 28 to persuade their superiors of the carnage that was already underway but denied by Modi’s chief law enforcement officers, barring some outstanding ones who later were to pay for their loyalty to their oath of duty.

It will be recalled that one of Modi’s ministerial colleagues, late Haren Pandya, had testified secretly to a civil society instituted panel of enquiry comprising three outstanding judges of the higher courts to the effect that Modi had, allegedly, at a meeting on the 27th with his core team of loyalists decreed a no action and hindrance course to be  followed the next day when the VHP -called and BJP- supported  Bandh call was to be implemented.  Pandya was found out and killed shortly after.  More recently, Sanjiv Bhat, an IPS officer, at one time close to Modi, has testified that he was actually present at that crucial meeting, corroborating what the late Pandya had said.  He was suspended, then subjected to multiple legal harassments, like some of the other upright officers, like Rahul Sharma, who had stood up for the right and proper.

Meanwhile, Bajrangi, in that Tehelka Sting confession was to go on to laud his mentor Modi for stage-managing his arrest after he had been absconding for four months, and to say how “Modi manipulated the Gujarat judiciary to get him bailed out.”  (The SIT took no cognizance of these confessions.  Also to underline that the Supreme Court in its remarks on the SIT closure report which thought there was no prosecutable evidence againt Modi  had averred trenchantly that the SIT’s  findings and conclusions seemed at complete loggerheads, which is the reason that the Supreme Court  ordered the separate report filed by the Court’s Amicus, a highly reputed senior advocate who opined that Modi infact could be prosecuted on the SIT’s findings such as they were  to be made part of the record and passed on to the complainant.

Maya Ben Kodnani  was only a member of the state assembly when the Narodia Patia massacre happened under her gleeful watch and direction.  And ah, so dear to Modi that she was subsequently inducted into his cabinet of ministers!

Babu Bajrangi was sentenced to full life in prison, and Kodnani to 28years in the slammer, where they cool their heels as we speak.

Think of the background above, and imagine that the same Modi should now be seeking enhancement of their sentences to death.  “O brave new world that hath such creatures in it.” (Tempest)

A flurry of speculation is now underway, and much of it germane.  That on the seeming threshold of a call to leap to the centre of India’s political control come the next hustings in 2014, this is Macbeth-Modi’s way of saying what  a secularist he is after all, with justice for the minority Muslims dearest to his heart.  Catch: why now? And why in relation to two of his most devoted hatchet loyalists?

Here is what seems most likely to be the motivation:  the Protest Petition filed by Zakaia Jaffri ,  replete with damning evidence that the Gujarat government had hitherto claimed to have been destroyed, and much of which the SIT had concealed, refusing to hand over all its papers to the complaining widow until directed by the Supreme Court to do so with rectitude and promptness, is due to come up in the local Gujarat court on April 24.  News of the Gujarat government’s intent to seek enhancement of sentence on Bajrangi and Kodnani came a day after the filing of the Protest Petition, long after time lawfully allowed for such revisions of sentence  to  be sought.

This may well be the onset of the last act of Macbeth:  should the court in Gujarat, in view of the new evidence of damining complicity adduced in the Petition, take cognizance of the materials now before it, the only recourse for it may be to order the framing of charges against the 59 accused named by the complainant, Zakia Jaffri.  And the first accused in that list is Narendra Modi.

Time therefore to argue before the court that a chief minister who is seeking enhancement of sentence on two  convicted colleagues who had been as close to him as all the background etched above suggests, regardless of being staunch Hindutva votaries and cuthroats, could hardly have been guilty of complicity in the massacre of Muslims in the first place, could he?

Desperate times, desperate remedies, decreed both Chanakya and Machiavelli as courses to undertake by the one who would be Prince.

It is a sort of throw of the dice that we see increasingly happen towards the denoument in Macbeth.  Already a chorus of disapproval of Modi’s  “vaulting ambition” to be prime minister, at least prime ministerial candidate of his party which he thinks little of anyway and has decimated in his own state, grows louder not only among some of BJP’s chief and oldest allies, but within the BJP itself.

The engineered hype around Modi—engineered chiefly by India’s corporate electronic  channels on the chamber music swell of India’s new urban elites, all of whom see this now as the moment to dismantle the Weimar republic; enough of democracy, bring in the war-mongering superman—thus is now at woeful loggerheads with Modi’s  increasingly rougher truck and likely upcommance with the law, and  with the factually limited expanse of his acceptability among the polity at large, about eighty percent of which exists outside the worlds of the social media, and is devoted to imperatives that have little to gain from fascist consolidation.

Simmering, and not so simmering, speculation is also under way since this news has come of how this seeking of enhancement of sentence on Bajrangi and Kodnani may play among the hard core cadre Hindutva support for Modi, within and outside Gujarat.

It may not be anymore such a well-kept secret that Modi’s  consecutive successes at the husting s n Gujarat have had little to do with claims of “development’, real or propagated—the stuffing of these claims has lately been taken out with calculated invocation of facts country wide, and Gujarat has been found to be  lagging in the ranks, be it in GDP growth, per capita income, or FDI inflows, not to speak of its abysmal  record on malnutrition, gender ratio, anaemia among lactating women, and now a fatal lack of water accessibility to vast stretches of the state  from whence tales of horrendous suffering arrive everyday—but with the silent fact that he is credited with having achieved that which even the RSS and other strident sartraps of the Hindutva tradition  never did achieve, namely, subjugating, then relegating, Gujarat’s  Muslims with ruthless intent, and without fear, regret, or rethink, refusing for example to wear the Muslim skull cap offered him at  his  socalled  “sadhbhavna” (harmony/reconciliation meet), and generally having sought with firm resolve to turn Gujarat into the sort of Hindutva land that the RSS chief, Golwalker, had envisioned in his 1938 book, Bunch of Thoughts, in which a whole chapter is titled  “Enemy number one” namely, the Muslims.

Given that context, it is more than likely that Modi’s  move to have Bajrangi  and Kodnani sent to the gallows may cause the deepest  shock of recognition and heartburn among his Hindutva cadres.  To think now that this man could, for his “vaulting ambition” think nothing of dispatching  his dear old loyalists as so often so  eloquently is done by the successful  individualists of the Shakespearean Renaissance.  This will be galling indeed, and cannot but have decisive electoral fallouts.

There may also be some truth to the speculation that Modi may have inkling that Bajrangi and Kodnani may spill some further beans on their own behalf.  What better course than to project them now as unbecoming of earthly existence altogether.

Among these dark happenings, though, is the sterling light that shines from the corner opposed to Modi in these legal wrangles.  They, all human rights activists at heart, have said they oppose the death penalty and, oppose it even if it be a Bajrangi or a Kodnani.  Halelujah!  You show the way.

Clearly  the days ahead will be full of interest.  The local court in Gujarat due to begin hearing the Protest Petition on April 24 means to carry on a day to day basis.  Thus its determination of the new evidence and its decision should not take long in coming.

Whichever way that goes, there will no doubt be fresh appeals all the way again to  the apex court.  But should the lower court seek to frame charges, a sea change cannot but happen  both in the Modi saga and in the larger politics of Hindutva that  has been so strident since 2002, and hand-in-glove, one might note with market fundamentalism and India’s  affluenet diaspora in the West.

Fingers crossed.  May justice not only prevail but be seen to prevail.

 

#Gujarat- Death for Kodnani move to warn Advani, deflect Zakia?


Gujarat EDN

TOI 18APR2013

Turmoil In State Sangh Parivar

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
Ahmedabad: The Gujarat government’s clearance on Monday of the file put forth by the special investigations team that recommended death penalty for former minister Maya Kodnani, instead of a life term, in the Naroda Patia massacre of 2002 has brought about turmoil in the entire Sangh Parivar in Gujarat. The file had been submitted to the legal department in September 2012 and the timing is most discussed.
In an interview to BBC on January 28 this year, BJP president Rajnath Singh had said that Maya Kodnani is innocent and the party will fully support her in the legal battle. But the move on Monday against Kodnani is now being seen with suspicion by even Parivar insiders because Kodnani’s loyalties lie with L K Advani.
Kodnani’s parents, who have a strong Parivar background, had met RSS supremo Mohan Bhagwat in Ahmedabad last fortnight and requested him to use his good offices to help Kodnani. Many local RSS stalwarts had supported the impassioned plea from the family.
The timing of the clearance of the file is important as it comes seven months after the SIT submitted the report and deflects attention from Zakia Jafri protest petition against chief minister Narendra Modi with thousands of pages of wireless messages and call data record as evidence that Modi government knew about the violence in advance. Also, it comes on the heels of a section of the BJP and NDA favouring Advani as PM.
The change in government’s stance is stark. In 2009, when Kodnani was granted bail and SIT wanted bail cancellation, the Modi government replied to SIT that Maya is innocent and denied permission. Even during trial, Kodnani was not arrested.
Kodnani was sentenced to 28 years in jail August 2012 with 30 others for their role in the Naroda Patiya massacre. Kodnani, a three-time Naroda MLA, was identified in the court by 11 survivors as a mob leader.
Kodnani, a gynaecologist inducted as minister of state for women and child development by Modi in 2007, is the first former minister to be found guilty in any case relating to the riots.
VHP opposes move
Ahmedabad: The VHP leadership in Gujarat is up in arms against the state government’s decision to seek death penalty for former state minister Maya Kodnani and nine others in the 2002 Naroda Patia massacre case.

Kodnani seeks suspension of sentence

Former minister and a convict in the Naroda Patia massacre case, Maya Kodnani has requested the Gujarat high court to suspend the sentence against her and to release her on bail till her appeal against the conviction is decided.
Special judge Jyotsna Yagnik sentenced her to 28-year imprisonment after holding her guilty of participation in the killing of 97 people on February 28, 2002. The court held that she was the kingpin of the massacre and had incited the mob to resort to violence. She was sentenced on August 31 last year.
Kodnani has sought suspension of her sentence mainly on the ground that her appeal against conviction is not likely to be heard soon. Moreover, she has also contended that her appeal has good merit and there is likelihood of her succeeding in it. She has stated in her petition that the lower court had not evaluated evidence in proper manner and ignored constant improvisation on part of witnesses. She has also questioned the lower court’s decision to admit the electronic evidence in form of the sting operation, which contains extra-judicial confessions of Kodnani’s co-accused like Babu Bajrangi and Suresh Langdo.
Demanding bail, Kodnani has contended that she has deep roots in society and is not likely to abscond. TNN

Sanction to SIT a clever ploy: Activist
S ocial activist Cedric Prakash has dubbed the sanctio n granted by the state government to the SIT for seeking harsher punishment for Maya Kodnani and others in Naroda Patia case as “a very clever ploy to defocus from more important issues”. “The ruse now is to deflect from the protest petition filed by Zakia Jafri, which definitely names people and the events during the carnage,” he stated, adding that the state government had in fact promoted Kodnani to the ministry even after knowing her role in the massacre. TNN

 

Death Penalty- is discriminatory


ajmal-amir-kasab-photo-terrorist-going-to-be-h...

ajmal-amir-kasab-photo-terrorist-going-to-be-hanged-image-india-attacked.jpg copy (Photo credit: Shekhar_Sahu)

Death is entirely discriminatory Anup Surendranath , Oped  The Hindu

A life term for Kodnani and the hangman’s noose for Kasab show the arbitrariness in the judicial administration of capital punishment

Judge Jyotsna Yagnik’s invocation of human dignity while not awarding the death penalty in the Naroda-Patiya massacre case and the Supreme Court’s expression of helplessness while confirming the death penalty of Ajmal Kasab — sentenced in the 26/11 terror attack — go to the heart of the constitutional unviability of the death penalty. We would struggle to make any meaningful distinction in the culpability we attach to these two crimes but our collective response, in terms of the punishment they must receive, has been qualitatively different. While it will be debated whether it was appropriate for a trial judge to invoke concerns of human dignity at the sentencing stage, judge Yagnik’s judgment has also inadvertently demonstrated the inherent unfairness of the death penalty. One can’t help wonder about Kasab’s fate if he had appeared before judge Yagnik rather than judge M.L. Tahiliani. And it is precisely that unpredictability and inconsistency in the judicial administration of the death penalty that is at the heart of the principled objections to the death penalty.

Different responses

There has been very little discussion on why principled arguments against the death penalty should not apply in Kasab’s case. Raju Ramachandran, the amicus in Kasab’s case, did a terrific job in attempting to get the Supreme Court to commute Kasab’s death sentence but there has been very little else.

As a nation and a society we seem to have quietly accepted the death penalty for Kasab despite all the objections that have been raised about the death penalty in the past. Kasab’s case is a significant setback for the move towards complete abolition of the death penalty in India. It was, in many ways, the perfect case for the death penalty. A profoundly hurt and grieving society, the guilt of the accused established through damning photographs and videos, wounded nationalism and the possible involvement of state actors across the border all contributed towards making Kasab’s case a strong validation of the need for the death penalty. It is as though we are acknowledging that there will be moments in our life as a nation where we will need to satisfy our need for collective revenge. A need satisfied with the gloss of the rule of law.

On what basis, then, do we not demand the death penalty for those who masterminded and led the carnage in Naroda-Patiya? Maya Kodnani as an MLA was supposed to represent and protect the interests of those in her constituency and not lead a mob of genocidaires to torture, rape and kill many helpless Muslims. Despite that, our acceptability of the punishments handed down in the Kasab and the Naroda-Patiya cases has proceeded along very different lines. There will certainly be no sustained demand for the death penalty for Maya Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi but there is widespread satisfaction at the confirmation of death penalty for Kasab. That this qualitative difference in our perception of the two crimes has found reflection in the judicial administration of the death penalty is most unfortunate with the invocation of human dignity in one case and no meaningful engagement with it in another. The issue is not whether the death penalty offends human dignity or not. As a polity, we have unfortunately decided that it does not. The primary issue is whether it is possible to develop a model of administering the death penalty that is consistent and non-arbitrary.

Judge Yagnik chose not to impose the death penalty because of her commitment to the position that the human dignity of all convicts must be respected. Judge Tahiliani either does not subscribe to that view or believes that it is inappropriate for a trial judge to take such considerations into account. Either way, it exposes why the ‘rarest of the rare’ framework cannot work in a fair and consistent manner. It ultimately leaves significant scope for judicial discretion where all sorts of factors creep in, and has ensured that comparing the death penalty in India to a lottery would not be an exaggeration.

An analysis of death penalty cases in India from 1950-2006 by Amnesty International confirms that administering the death penalty has been an arbitrary exercise. Essentially, it was observed that in many similar circumstances some convicts were awarded the death penalty and others were not. In the pursuit of consistent application of the death penalty, is the solution then to completely remove judicial discretion? Should we develop a list of very specific crimes where the death penalty is automatically awarded? Before it was found to be unconstitutional, Section 303 of the Indian Penal Code provided that an individual who committed murder while serving a life sentence would be automatically sentenced to death. Emphasising the importance of individual sentencing, five judges of the Supreme Court in Mithu v. State of Punjab found the automatic sentencing to be arbitrary and unjust.

The inability of the sentencing judges to take into consideration individual circumstances while deciding the sentence, the judges felt, would cause grave injustice to the accused. Achieving a balance between judicial discretion and individualised sentencing has proved to be an impossible task. The Supreme Court has tried to address this by developing guidelines in cases like Bachan Singh and Santosh Bariyar without much success.

A damning indictment of such attempts has been the recent appeal by 14 eminent judges to the President to commute the death sentence of 13 convicts. It is stated in the appeal that the Supreme Court itself has admitted to the wrongful administration of the death penalty in these 13 cases and that it would be a grave miscarriage of justice to not commute their sentence. It is time for the Supreme Court to recognise that it is attempting the impossible by trying to achieve a consistent application of the death penalty while maintaining the discretion of judges.

This debate between consistent application of the death penalty and individualised sentencing was at its peak in the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1970s. In Furman v. Georgia (1972), the U.S. Supreme Court raised constitutional concerns about the discriminatory and arbitrary use of the death penalty. After the judgment in Furman, many States responded with new guidelines for imposing the death penalty, including some mandatory death penalty schemes. While the attempt of the States to provide guidelines was upheld, the mandatory death penalty schemes were struck down in Gregg v. Georgia in 1976. However, the U.S. experience with ‘guided discretion’ since then has been disastrous and has been documented in great detail by the Steiker Report (2009) commissioned by the American Law Institute (ALI).

‘Tinkering with the machinery’

The ALI’s model framework for the administration of death penalty developed in 1962 provided the basis for the death penalty statutes that the U.S. Supreme Court found acceptable in Gregg. However, after the Steiker Report came to the conclusion that the death penalty continued to be administered in an arbitrary manner, the ALI deleted the death penalty provisions from its Model Penal Code in December 2009 with no proposal to introduce another framework. Justice Harry Blackmun’s judicial view on the death penalty while on the Supreme Court holds an important lesson for India’s judges in the Supreme Court.

Appointed by President Nixon, he started out upholding the constitutionality of the death penalty including mandatory death sentences in the 1970s. Until a few months before his retirement in August 1994, Justice Blackmun was a supporter of the death penalty by upholding many attempts to achieve its non-arbitrary application. But in Callins v. Collins in February 1994, Justice Blackmun concluded that efforts of the U.S. Supreme Court over two decades since Furman to ensure fair and non-arbitrary application of the death penalty had proved to be futile.

Finding the death penalty to be ‘fraught with arbitrariness, discrimination, caprice, and mistake’, Justice Blackmun revoked his support for the death penalty by declaring that he would no longer ‘tinker with the machinery of death’. The Indian Supreme Court must recognise the impossibility of what it is trying to achieve.

(Anup Surendranath is an Assistant Professor of Law at the National Law University, Delhi, and a doctoral candidate at the Faculty of Law, University of Oxford.)

Look for justice, not revenge- #DEATHPENALTY must go !


 

The death penalty must go, for it obliterates a distinction fundamental to our existence

Gautam Patel, Mumbai Mirror

In the face of unspeakable horror, resisting what must have been the strongest temptation to lash out, the tone of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Qasab case is calm, gentleandalwaysjudicious.Thereis,too,an uncommon grace and breadth of mind: the decision ends with six paragraphs that are in themselves unusual. The Supreme Court thanks appearing counsel, and makes special mention of the exemplary work of the trial court judge, Justice M L Tahaliyani (now a judge of the Bombay High Court).
This calmness is at odds with the matter at hand.ItishardtothinkoftheQasabcasewithout being driven to instant, unthinking rage: pictures of the blood-smeared floor of the CST train station, of Qasab dressed like a college student but armed to the teeth, and, above all, his apparent complete indifference to what he was doing. The immediate reaction therefore is, always: hanghim.Suggesttheabolitionofthedeathpenalty and the common response is, yes, fine; but only after we hang Qasab.
Should we? Should we hang anybody? Should the law permit this? In an article here in March,Iarguedthatitistimeforthedeathpenalty to go because, apart from anything else, it is both error-prone and irreversible. In July, 14 former judges of the Supreme Court and our High CourtswrotetothePresidentaskingthathecommute to life imprisonment the death sentences of13convicts.TheappealdoesnotseektheabolitionoftheDP,whateverthepersonalviewsofsignatories. It points, instead, to the significant errors and mistakes in administering this law, and to the Supreme Court’s own admission that it went wrong in several DP cases. Specifically, that the standard set by the Supreme Court in Bachan Singh’scaseof1980–thattheDPistheexception tothegeneralruleoflifeimprisonmentasamaximum sentence; that the DP should be imposed only in the “rarest of rare” cases; and that in imposing it, courts should look at both crime and criminal — was upended in a later case, Ravji (1996), decided by a bench of fewer judges, which said it is the gravity of the crime that is determinative, not the criminal; and that subsequentcasesincorrectlyfollowedRavji.Theresult wasanincorrectapplicationofthelawandtheerroneous sentencing to death of many. That mistake was discovered only in 2009 in yet another case, Bariyar, too late to save two men, wrongly hanged by the law.
This“rarestofrare”standardispuzzling.Itadmits of no absolute or objective measure. What is raretoonemightbecommontoanother.Twoorders from the extremities of the judicial pyramid show how uneven this standard is. A few days after the Qasab decision, a special court in Ahmedabad convicted Maya Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi and sentenced them to long terms of imprisonment for their role in the massacres at Naroda Patiya during the 2002 Gujarat riots. Both have been convicted, among other things, ofmurder.BetweenQasab,whoarrivedasanoutsiderandmassacredpeoplehedidnotknow,and Kodnani and Bajrangi who turned on their own townspeople in ways equally horrific, why is one “rare” and the other not? In the Gujarat riots cases lies yet another contradiction: many of those convicted of the Godhra train massacre received death sentences. Was Godhra rare, but Naroda Patiya not? What nice points of distinction enable us to decide who dies and who lives?
Two of the signatories to the appeal to the President, Justice Ganguly and Justice AP Shah, have in separate interviews expressed their personal views in favour of abolishing the DP. Both make compelling arguments. “The legal safeguards aimed at avoiding a miscarriage of capital punishment have failed to deliver,” says Justice Shah. “I cannot say today that the death penalty isunconstitutional,butfreakishandrandomimposition of the death penalty is certainly unconstitutional,” is Justice Ganguly’s view.
Many writers (including Yug Mohit Chaudhry, the Bombay High Court lawyer who initiatedtheappealtothePresidentandamanofferocious tenacity) have explained at length why it must go: personal predilections, prejudice and bias, and individualistic aberrations show that the DP is inherently unreliable. Justice John Paul Stevens of the US Supreme Court reversed course after 32 years, arguing that “the death penalty represents ‘the pointless and needless extinction of life with only marginal contributions to any discernible social or public purposes’“. Philosophers, writers and leaders, too, have weighed in. “Capital punishment is the most premeditated of murders,” said Albert Camus, and Desmond Tutu felt that “to take a life when a life has been lost is revenge, not justice”.
But perhaps the most striking indictment of capital punishment comes from those to whom it falls to oversee its administration; people like Lewis Lawes, the warden of New York’s Sing Sing prison in the 1920s and 30s: “As if one crime of such nature, done by a single man, acting individually, can be expiated by a similar crime done by all men, acting collectively.”
The death penalty must go, for it obliterates a distinction fundamental to our existence: the distinction between revenge and justice, between being primitive and being civilized, between being human and being inhuman.

 

Kasab, Bajrangi and the case against the #deathpenalty


 

We should put Ajmal KasabImages ] in jail until he dies a natural death, just like Babu Bajrangi. Rotting in jail knowing you are never going to be a free man again is worse than the finality of death. The punishment for crimes against humanity should be in this world and not the next, says Shivam Vij.at rediff.com
The Naroda Patiya massacre in Ahmedabad [ Images ] on February 28, 2002, killed 97 Muslims. It is the massacre infamous for the gory stories of a pregnant woman disembowelled and raped, an infant killed, and so on. If this massacre is not fit to be considered the “rarest of the rare,” what is?

It is ironical that the court found the kingpin of the massacre to be a woman, Dr Maya Kodnani, a practising gynaecologist, a former minister of state for women and child welfare in the Narendra ModiImages ] government! The court came down particularly hard on her, commenting that as a legislator, a representative of the people, she had done the opposite of what she was expected to: she helped kill people rather than save them. “She led the mob and incited them to violence. She abetted and supported the violent mob,” the court observed.

However, special court judge Jyotsna Yagnik chose not to sentence the accused to death when he announced the sentencing on September 1. Her court found 32 people guilty, of whom one is absconding. Seven will spend 31 years in jail, 22 will spend 24 years, Maya Kodnani 28 years and former Gujarat state Bajrang Dal president Babu Bajrangi is to live the rest of his life in jail.

Justice Yagnik — a brave judge whom the Gujarat government had transferred but was reinstated by the Supreme Court — said that capital punishment was against human dignity and that global trends were to avoid it.

As someone against death penalty, I am only too happy that a judge has given a judgment like this. And I am happy that she has compensated this with extra years in jail — and in Bajrangi’s case, jail till natural death. I think that capital punishment should be abolished from Indian law, as the State has no right to take away anyone’s life.

Killing a mass murderer is not going to bring back those he killed, and I do not understand how the cause of justice is served. The idea of justice is not revenge but to bring a sense of closure to the victims, not give them the gross feeling of revenge. Justice should be restorative, not retributive.

Making the legal process less cumbersome and time-consuming, making it more independent from the pressures of the government of the day, punishing the police and investigation agencies found coming in the way of justice, are some measures that are going to be far more effective in preventing heinous crime than hanging people to death.

Sometimes capital punishment is actually counter-productive. It has the potential of turning the accused into a martyr, which is then used by his or her defenders to spread his or her message. Hanging Bajrangi is going to be used by some fanatics to make him into a hero in the cause of fanaticism and religious violence. Letting him rot in jail forever, is justice that will deny him a heroic halo.

Justice is about fairness, not about lynch mob mentality. And so when the Supreme Court upheld capital punishment for Ajmal Kasab, I was sickened to see the reactions by some in social media. ‘Hang him now!’ they said. ‘Why are we wasting the tax-payer’s money keeping him alive?’ they asked.

They are not asking for justice but for the ghastly pleasure of seeing someone they hate being killed by their State. It is the same kind of vicarious pleasure that the 26/11 terrorists and the people behind them sought. So are we going to submit to the kind of base instincts that made Kasab a terrorist? Unlike the nine others who were killed, Kasab was captured alive. But he, too, was prepared to be killed. Like all jihadis, he was probably told he will attain heaven. Kasab’s hanging is not going to deter other jihadis who are indoctrinated to die for a cause.

And that is why we should put Kasab in jail until he dies a natural death, just like Bajrangi. Rotting in jail knowing you are never going to be a free man again is worse than the finality of death. The punishment for crimes against humanity should be in this world and not the next. And if we assert that these criminals have committed acts that are inhuman, our moral right to justice cannot be fulfilled if our justice is the inhumanity of murder.

The only thing that will not be achieved by their hanging is that we will not get to clap and cheer as the noose tightens, which is what some of us really want to do. Like barbarians, like the Taliban [ Images ]. It is unfortunate that in the Afzal Guru case the Supreme Court almost succumbed to such emotions of retributive justice when it noted that sentencing him to death would satisfy “the collective conscience of the [sic] society”.

If the tax-payer’s money is to be saved, let’s abandon the criminal justice system as a whole and keep hanging people summarily. Incidentally, the people who want Kasab hanged right away, do not want Bajrangi and Kodnani hanged. I don’t understand this double standard and hypocrisy. Both killed people, lots of them. In fact Kasab’s crime is lesser: he was not a mastermind like Kodnani and Bajrangi but a pawn.

An MLA conspiring to kill the people she represents is definitely “rarer” than a Pakistani terrorist coming to India [ Images ] and killing Indians.

I am not saying that Kodnani and Bajrangi should be hanged, rather that nobody should ever be hanged, for anything. The hypocrisy in a section of public opinion is proof that capital punishment is less about justice and more about retribution. But there are more reasons why India should abolish capital punishment.

Those given capital punishment in India often come from poor, marginalised or minority communities. This makes people say that the rich, the mainstream and those from majority community are treated with leniency. While I appreciate and second Justice Yagnik’s argument that death sentence is against human dignity, I am only saying that the Indian criminal justice system should apply this logic as a whole, in all cases deemed “rarest of the rare”.

The criminal justice system as a whole should not only treat everyone equally but also be seen as treating everyone equally. The Naroda Patiya judgment will certainly seem unjust to the 11 who have been given death sentence for the Godhra train carnage.

When the perpetrators of the gruesome Khairlanji massacre, in which a Dalit family was lynched to death by a whole village in Maharashtra [ Images ] in 2006, were not given death sentence, it made people ask: why does the system become lenient with punishment when the victims are Dalit? Such alienation and politics over capital punishment can be avoided only if it capital punishment is abolished from the statute book.

Another good reason why capital punishment should be abolished is that in case a judgment is erroneous, in case someone is being convicted on the basis of, say, concocted evidence, the mistake cannot be reversed. A man in jail can be freed but a man murdered can’t be brought back to life. The mistake can also be one of the judges’ interpretation of what constitutes “rarest of the rare”. And given the number of riots and pogroms and terrorist activities we have in this country, is the “rarest of the rare” really all that rare?

Fourteen eminent retired judges have recently written to President Pranab Mukherjee [ Images ] asking him to commute the death sentences of 13 convicts because the Supreme Court recently admitted that seven of its judgments giving those 13 capital punishment were made in error or ignorance (rendered per incuriam)! The Supreme Court has also admitted error in giving death sentence to Ravji Rao and Surja Ram of Rajasthan [ Images ], who were hanged in 1996 and 1997. Could there be greater injustice in the name of justice?

 

 

Police Inspector KK Mysorewala did not take preventive steps #Narodapatiya #Narendramodi


 

DNA Correspondent l Ahmedabad

The special judge, who conducted the trial in the Naroda Patia massacre case, criticised the initial investigation in the case that was done by the Naroda police, and also pulled up the then police inspector, KK Mysorewala.
In her 2000-page-long verdict, the judge has said that statements of witnesses recorded by the previous investigator were unreliable as the investigator’s propriety in recording the statements had itself been rebutted.
“This court believes and has held that the previous investigation is not reliable mainly as far as recording the statements is concerned,” the judge has stated in her verdict.
Regarding Mysorewala, the court said the police officer had not paid due attention to the guidance and oral instructions given on February 27, 2002 by higher officers regarding preventive steps to be taken. “Not a single such step was taken,” the court said.
“Two incidents of burning Muslim shops on that day should have been taken as signals of the series of horrifying and terrifying incidents to occur, but nothing was noted by him. Even no police point was arranged at the place near the wall of Jawan Nagar and where the Muslim chawls known as Jawan Nagar begin,” the court said. The judge further said that complaints were registered after the two shops of Muslims were burnt but no proper and detailed investigation was done and no one was arrested.
“This job could also have been assigned to some subordinate by KK Mysorewala but he remained inactive as emerges on record,” the judge said.
In her 2000-page verdict, the judge said that statements of witnesses recorded by the previous investigator were unreliable as the investigator’s propriety in recording the statements had itself been rebutted